Wonder is a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
Wonder is sometimes said to be a childish emotion, one that we may grow out of. Unfortunately, as many of us grow older we stop wondering. Stop questioning and stop attempting to look at things in new or untraditional ways. We’re inclined to accept what others tell us and we must except, to be excepted ourselves. My hikes in nature have helped me realize how many things we believe, need to be examined, or viewed differently than the”one”way, or as the truth.
We needed to master our environment enough, to exceed the basic necessities of survival before we could make much use of this feeling. It’s a tricky emotion, it’s not easily triggered in a studied environment. It requires that you catch someone unexpectedly and surpass their ability to understand. Unlike anger, guilt and laughter that are far easier to understand and measure. Wonder is a passive emotion when we confront something vivid, large or beautiful, there is momentary contemplation. A perplexed curiosity that doesn’t lead to immediate physical action.
It’s not essential.
It’s not essential for survival, which could mean that the emotion didn’t evolve as a direct result of a survival mechanism. Emerging with other softer emotions as needed. It tends to make us feel physically smaller when we are in awe of something. Cathedrals with high vaulted ceilings and vast stained glass windows. Intricately decorated surfaces all engage our senses in ways that are bewildering and transcendent.
But there is no greater feeling than being in the ultimate cathedral of “nature.” Staring up at a clear night sky looking at tiny specks of twinkling light. Distances from earth cannot be measured as we normally would, because the numbers are too large. The stars I’m looking at, don’t exist as they appear to my naked eye, all I’m seeing is an illusion. Now that’s wonder on a cosmic level, no real truth and mostly inspired guesswork.
Wonder has found a home in nature, there were the classic seven wonders of the world. The great pyramid of Giza, the hanging gardens of Babylon and the statue of Zeus at Olympia. As well as the temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Finally the Colossus of Rhodes and The lighthouse of Alexandria. Apart from a new seven, there are the ten, the twenty and the wonder of wonders. What’s on your Bucket list? Adventure, travel, volunteerism, crazy fun, connecting with nature.? One thousand plus wonderful ideas to do before you die. I have no doubt that many of these ideas will evoke wonder in the people that visit them. Wonder often requires that you catch someone unexpectedly or surpass their ability to understand. When I hike through the forests around my home town, I often have to take the same trails over and over.
This seems to dampen my sense of wonder because of familiarity. The sunlight came through the trees in a certain way this morning reflecting onto a lone Kangaroo, that seemed to be enjoying the warmth of the early morning sun. Usually they hop quickly away before my track takes me too close. Only this time a combination of factors happened, a lack of concentration on the kangaroos part, or familiarity with my hikes. This allowed me to feel wonder, as I also realized that this moment may never happen again. It’s these unexpected experiences that create wonder, if we are constantly shown images that may evoke wonder, are we taking the wonder out of wonder ?